I have been leaving little pieces of you, of us, of my heart, all over the globe. A bit here and a chunk there…I left some tidbits on top of Volcano Popo and Itza outside Mexico City, I drowned some in a powerful primordial waterfall in Chiapas, I whispered some secret words in the silent dark corridors of the grand pyramid in Cholula, I let some lizards and toucans eat some morsels of my heart in the ancient jungle ruins of Palenque, I shared some with a Mexican women, and a few more to a guatemalteca girl, some more to a Brazilian girl, and several other girls took some without even knowing it. From atop the peak of Volcano Tajumulco in Guatemala I hurled some shards of pain like Zeus down to the Pacific Ocean across a pink sea of clouds, I submerged yet others in the cold lake waters of Lago Atitlan amidst the basalt rock and ancient fish, and I buried some pebbles of our past in the rivers of flowing lava atop Volcano Pacaya.
“Everything is so fleeting…”
This thought stabbed me as life drained slowly away.
It’s quite surprising what goes through your mind as your blood pools and collects around the shards of glass lying within your crooked gaps on the wet concrete. Things like, “I wonder what would have happened if I would have been a dentist?”
And “I wanted to at least tell her I loved her.”
And “If I were to raise dogs, I’d raise miniature schnauzers—no, schnauzers of all kinds,”
And “You know what sounds good right now? A grilled cheese sandwich.”
It’s not what you would think, that whole review of one’s life. I only recall one such episode presenting itself vividly before my mind. I was jumping off a bridge. I must have been 9-10 years old. I was happy. Carefree and happy. I wore bright red shorts and no shirt and the bridge must have been only 5 or 6 feet high over a small creek but it seemed so high because I was afraid…and exhilarated. I don’t know why I saw it in 3rd person. It was like I had a telescope from afar zooming in on my own childhood fun, but I remembered it so vividly that moment.
If you were a bus driver maybe you would crash and crack your skull and if you were a mountain climber there is a good chance you would freeze to death or fall in a crevasse. But for the rest of us, it’s a question mark, and it won’t be something exotic either.
“No one knows how it will come, it’s NEVER WHAT YOU EXPECT,” I thought.
But all the other thoughts were questions like “I wonder when the last time was when I had my mom’s peanut butter cookies?” and “I hope they forgive me for dying like this.”
Then I might have let out a chuckle.
The last thing that passed into my consciousness before darkness conquered me was:
“Did they kill me because I fell in love or because I told the truth?”
From the dusty, deserted steppes I swear I distinctly heard laughs carried by the eastern wind. But from the other direction I heard the sound of man destroying himself with his instruments of aggression and self-loathing.
The wind and the songs of the wind were confused.
“Why do they love death?” asked the softly-spoken song of the south.
“Maybe they can’t help it,” whispered its undercurrent.
“Ha! This strange animal seems convinced that it is NOT.” The suddenly sober easterly gale.
“NOT worthy, NOT of this earth, NOT an animal.”
“To think!” said a whistle in the wind, “A worthy animal of this earth thinking it is an unworthy non-animal from somewhere else!”
“That is the true self-betrayal!” said a fresh bold wind blowing from the north.
“The human–the animal that tries to be more than what it is, yet uncomfortable in its own skin,” it continued. Continue reading
I swear a lot in real life. I also can be vulgar. Sometimes that finds its way into my characters’ mouths and deeds. Sometimes that makes some pieces unfit for certain venues. When I think about censoring myself to please others I think of what Mark Twain wrote: “Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”
Then again, I say more than damn.